There's been quite a bit of fuss recently about Tynt, a new web 2.0 site which many accused of scraping content. But how much should anyone worry about a site with no apparent business model?
The digital sector can often be a very insular community and, as part of that, the worlds of social media and SEO are no different. As someone who works in both of these sectors, which often overlap, it can often feel like living in a goldfish bowl in an echo chamber: as more and more people say the same thing we all start to believe what's being said and to believe that what's being talked about matters in the real world.
This was demonstrated recently by Ted Dziuba when he shot down a lot of the hype that had started to surround Google's new browser Chrome (PS: if you're offended by strong language, you may not want to read his post). And the thought struck me whilst reading a lot of the furore about new web 2.0 site Tynt.
According to its blurb, the site: 'lets you share the web as YOU see it. Tynters add notes, speech bubbles, stickers, animation, drawings and more to web content'.
However many in the SEO world felt that it was nothing more than a scraper site, stealing traffic from other web businesses. I won't go into all the details here but you can get a pretty good overview on search marketing forum Sphinn: suffice to say that Tynt appeared to be allowing search engines to index content from other sites under its own domain.
Following the posts about Tynt its CEO responded to the criticism and said that they were working hard to resolve the complaints. While I don't doubt the sincerity of the team at Tynt, or those worried about the impact it could have on their own sites, it does make me wonder whether we in the digital world shouldn't take a step back every so often and take a look at the bigger picture.
Tynt for example strikes me as a very strange site. I'm sure that I'm not the target audience but even so I just can't see it going mainstream and making a huge impact. I'm sure that for lots of people the idea of being able to graffiti a website is the most fun they'll have with their clothes on, but I'm also pretty sure that I've seen plenty of very similar sites in the past.
A quick look at its traffic stats suggests that I might not be too far off the mark (that said, I've been wrong on many occasions in the past and I'm sure that I will be again in the future).
As sites such as YouTube and Facebook - with huge audiences - struggle to sufficiently monetise their traffic, you have to wonder how something like Tynt will satisfy its investors.
And without wishing to sound like Drama 2.0 MKII, I can't help wondering whether, with the financial world in a state of severe trauma, worrying about web 2.0 startups is a bit like fretting about a mosquito bite whilst a shark nibbles at your ankles.